Tag Archives: Chicago

Libraries of the future? With Chicago’s new library commissioner taking over this month, one prototype library design offers a solid mix of form and function while another falls short

Chicago Tribune – “What should a 21st Century library look like? To ask that question is to conjure futuristic visions–of libraries that resemble sleek Apple stores; of librarians who stroll around their branches with computer tablets, and of robots that stack books in shelves, provided, of course, there still are books. Such issues are no longer academic, not with a new library commissioner heading to Chicago, especially one from digitally-savvy San Francisco.”

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Library no longer throws book at snoozers

Chicago Tribune – “Fall asleep in the Chicago Public Library, someone will nudge you awake. Do it again, they’ll show you the door. But drift off in Lombard’s cozy library and you can slumber in peace. “The library is a good place to at least catch up on the sleep you missed out on the night before,” said Tammy Selio as she sat in the west suburban library on a recent Tuesday, a black suitcase filled with her belongings at her side. Selio, 40, and other homeless patrons often gather there in the hours before a nearby shelter opens at 7 p.m. Sometimes their eyes grow heavy — especially as the days turn gloomy and colder and a comfortable library chair beckons.”

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Chicago’s neighborhood libraries in a bind

Chicago Journal – “All but one table was occupied at the Roosevelt branch of the Chicago Public Library, 1101 S. Taylor St., on Monday as patrons leafed through books and newspapers and accessed free public Wi-Fi. Two front desk librarians handled patron requests as well as carts of unshelved books and CDs. At 3 p.m., a wave of students arrived, filling up one first floor reading room. Library use is up across the country due to hard economic times. Yet these hard times have led to major cuts at Chicago’s libraries, outlined in the municipal budget that passed City Council Nov. 16. The libraries will see almost 200 layoffs and reduced hours at 77 of 79 branch libraries.”

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Suburban libraries worry about the effects of Chicago library cuts

Chicago Sun Times – “Cuts to the Chicago Public Library’s budget may reverberate through the suburbs, where many Chicago residents use local libraries through reciprocal borrowing privileges. Some suburban librarians expect those cuts, if they go through, to not only reduce the number of hours Chicago branch libraries are open, but also reduce the number of books Chicago libraries buy and the ability to get borrowed books back after Chicagoans return them. All three possibilities could affect how well also-burdened suburban libraries perform, they said.”

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An Unusual Library Finds a New Home

Chicago News Cooperative – “On a recent Saturday afternoon in Humboldt Park, a small band of volunteers scrambled to put the finishing touches on their library’s new home — the sixth in as many years for the Read/Write Library, Chicago’s largest depository of grass-roots printed materials. “After all the trials and tribulations we’ve had, we’re cashing in our space karma,” said Nell Taylor, the founder and executive director of the all-volunteer, donation-financed library, which officially reopened on Friday. Since its founding in 2006, the library has been a perennial refugee, but Ms. Taylor said she believes that she has finally found a safe haven: a century-old, two-story yellow brick building on a quiet stretch of California Avenue.”

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Emanuel backpedals on library cuts

Chicago Tribune – “Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday said he’ll compromise on vehicle sticker fee increases, water bills for nonprofits and library hour cuts as he tries to collect enough votes to pass his first budget. The changes amount to about $10 million in a proposed spending plan that totals $6.3 billion. That allowed the mayor to declare that his overall aim of scaling back city spending and changing the way city business is done would remain intact despite the concessions to aldermen who had raised concerns.”

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Aldermen decry proposed library cuts, offer few solutions

Chicago Tribune – “Citing the library’s importance to education and community gathering, Chicago aldermen on Friday spent three hours voicing their opposition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to cut library staff and hours, though few had suggestions on how to fill the city’s budget gap. “They serve the young, the old, all ethnicities,” Ald. Ariel Reboyras, 30th, said of the libraries. “I believe the proposed cuts will affect our most vulnerable, our working-class poor.”

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Aldermen rip mayor’s proposed library cuts

Chicago Sun Times – “Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to reduce library hours and impose “draconian” job cuts that would impact library services at all hours is in danger of being shelved. Aldermen from across the city made that clear during City Council budget hearings Friday to the applause of library employees who stand to lose their jobs.”

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Digital library aims to expand kids’ media literacy

USA Today – CHICAGO – On the ground floor of the city’s main library, an odd experiment is taking place, one that could determine what your neighborhood library looks like in 10 years. It goes like this: Take a very large room and fill it with the latest digital media — laptop computers, music keyboards, recording equipment, video cameras and gaming consoles. Invite teenagers. Apply a little pressure, pushing them both to consume and produce media. Watch what happens. Once a storage room at the Harold Washington Library Center, the high-ceiling, 5,500-square-foot space, dubbed “YOUmedia — a Digital Library Space for Teens,” has become a magnet for young people citywide, so popular and influential that the library plans to replicate it citywide.”

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Sunny and Welcoming, Providing Books and a Safe Place

James Warren – “As Chicago’s political past and present were in mutual-admiration overdrive on Thursday, the city’s future was 100 feet away, paying no attention to all the conviviality and diligently using crayons on illustrations of jazz musicians. “I get to read, color and get on the computer,” said Nishon Luke, 7, merrily toiling in the children’s section of the new Richard M. Daley branch library on a desultory stretch of West Humboldt Park along Kedzie Avenue.”

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